A recent report commissioned by Family and Relationships Services Australia (FRSA) titled Strengthening prevention and early intervention services for families into the future, investigates the current and future potential for the Family and Relationships Services sector to take a greater prevention and early intervention approach in service delivery.
Many of the health and social problems Australia currently faces are preventable. The report aims to initiate a discussion as to how a coordinated strategy to increase family-based prevention and early intervention services could be utilised in Australia to prevent priority health and social problems. The report was completed by consulting expert opinions and drawing upon key policy documents, prior reviews and published sources.
Eight priority health and social problems were identified based on evidence that they have a preventable component through the delivery of family and relationship services:
- substance abuse (costing at least $55bn annually
- antisocial behaviour (including violence and crime, costing $36Bn, with family violence contributing between $22 and 26Bn in 2015–16)
- Obesity ($21Bn)
- Mental illness ($8.5Bn in 2014–15; up $911 million from 2010–11)
- Developmental injury (e.g., foetal alcohol problems, child neglect and abuse leading to preventable disability)
- Chronic illness (including preventable Type 2 diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma, allergies)
- School failure (including leaving school and not participating in further education) and
- Social exclusion (lack of meaningful and constructive social and economic participation).
Source: Toumbourou, J., Hartman, D., Field, K., Jeffery, R., Brady, J., Heaton, A., Ghayour-Minaie, M., Heerde, J. (2017). Strengthening prevention and early intervention services for families into the future. Deakin University and FRSA